{Week 13} 52 Week Money Challenge Bingo Style

She Makes Cents

Someone recently asked me “what was the point of doing a money challenge, it’s not like you are saving a substantial amount?”  My reply was simple, “every little bit helps me get one step closer to my goals”.  I am very serious about having a zero balance on my credit card by August 1, 2014 and using funds saved from this challenge helps me pay off my balance faster.  Today, I crossed number 17 off my bingo style money challenge sheet which gives me a grand total of $319.00 additional dollars added to help pay off the balance on my cards.  A while ago, I decided that instead of payment the minimum + the 52 Week Challenge weekly payment I would decide on a set payment to make every two weeks and add the money from the challenge on top of that.  This has allowed me to chop off interest payments as well. 

How Are You Doing On the Challenge?

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{Living Paycheck to Paycheck} Are You Working for the Weekend or Living for Payday?

She Makes Cents

{Souls Saving Soles} Spelman Sophomore Launches Shoe Drive to Benefit Homeless Children & Familes

Spelman-College

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I received an email yesterday from my alma mater about a Sophomore by the name of Imani White who is making her mark in Atlanta.  Since boots are made for walking, the C’2016 biology major, has launched an effort that epitomizes the lyrics to this classic Nancy Sinatra song.  White recently launched “These Boots Are Made to Walk,” a boot and shoe drive designed to benefit homeless children and families in metro Atlanta.
Working in partnership with the Spelman College student organization Pretty Brown Girls, White is accepting all kinds of shoes – from sneakers and boots to casual shoes and dress shoes – in children and adult sizes. She hopes to collect 500 pairs of shoes to benefit the Atlanta Women and Children’s Shelter, Atlanta Union Mission, Gateway Shelter, Atlanta Children’s Shelter, and Salvation Army, among other organizations.
“This is my way of showing that one little effort can help so many people,” said White, who serves as vice president of Pretty Brown Girls.

homeless-shoes-190x260-process-s175x239This really got me thinking about just how blessed a lot of us are and just how easy it is to take even the smallest things for granted.  If you are in the Atlanta area and want to take part, shoes can be dropped off every Friday through Friday, December 6, 2013 from noon to 4 p.m. in lower Manley of Spelman College. If you are not in the Atlanta area but would like to help, please forward, facebook, and tweet this article to let people know or better yet, plan a shoe drive in your area.

 For questions, contact White at mailto:madetowalk@gmail.com.

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{Lifestyle} October Photo-A-Day Challenge

Click Click Flash!

 I’ve always wanted to take part in a Photo-A-Day challenge and with today being the first day of the month, I thought to myself, “why not start TODAY”?  In a photo challenge, a theme for creative inspiration is chosen and you take photos based on your interpretation of it… sort of like a like a daily photo diary.  Today I came across this fun photo challenge list on the blog for Bicyclette Boutique out of Toronto, Canada and I can’t wait to get started.  Want to join me for the challenge, use #octphotoaday and #shemakescents when uploading to instagram, twitter, & facebook.

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Want to Take the Challenge? 

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{Shopping Confession} I Spent More Because It Was On Sale

So Good…It’s a Steal

It was last Wednesday, the hottest day of the year thus far in   Atlanta. I had just completed FREE yoga in the park with some of my girlfriends from work when I decided to see if H&M still had a swimsuit I saw just two weeks ago. I walked in and didn’t really notice anything out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, before I could even get to the swimsuits, I walked pass a rack of collar shirts in the front of the store, that would be perfect for summer. I picked up three. They are on sale for $7.00 a pop… that’s a steal, I thought to myself. Then I proceeded to the middle of the store where I was flooded…no… completely overwhelmed with red sale signs. My cousin, who witnessed this too, saw me transform from She Makes Cents… back to Danielle who gets a high from shopping. Sometimes I forget we are one and the same. Thirty minutes and fourteen hangers worth of clothes later, I was on the way to the dressing room. For so long, I have done such a great job controlling my spending that I forgot just how good it felt to shop.
Thank goodness for bad fits and wrong sizes because I ended up putting back practically everything, except two pairs of flats and a white sequin blazer. I got to the checkout, opening my wallet knowing that this purchase would max out last week’s shopping/entertainment category for my envelope system, and I swiped my debit card anyway. It’s okay….I thought to myself…I saved money because I decided against all those other outfits I tried on.

The Morning After

I woke up the next morning with a major hangover…a shopping hangover, that is. You know, when you are hit with the remembrance of last night’s out of control shopping escapade. All of the warm and fuzzies have worn off and I am left trying to recall what exactly I spent my money on. Things became clearer in the light of day and I realized that left ballet flat was a size 6 (my size) and the right flat was a size 8 (not my size). Not so cute anymore, huh?   And how about that blazer?  I was forced to ask myself the same question that my cousin asked me in the midst of my excitement the night before. Where in the hell are you going to wear a white sequin blazer? That night I swore I would wear it in Vegas, but in reality, it will be over 110° when I am there. Yes, outside of the pink iridescent ballet flats that remind me of my old pointe shoes, my trip to H&M was an epic fail. They didn’t even have the bikini I walked in there for.

Can You Relate? 

Tell Me About YOUR last “Hangover”.

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{Financial Cents} Is Your Way of Thinking Making You Poor?

Just as slaves born into slavery can’t visualize freedom, we Americans don’t know what it would be like to wake up to NO debt.
Dave Ramsey, Total Money Makeover

Is Your Way of Thinking Making You Poor.pngYour alarm clock sounds, alerting you that a new day has come. You awake to find yourself owning a car without a car payment, a home without a mortgage, an education without student loans, and credit card(s) with a zero balance. How did you get to this financial freedom? Did you a) win the lottery, b) rob a bank Sugar & Spice style, or c) align your behaviors with your long-term financial goals? Well, the answer to the question depends on whom you ask.

I told a friend of mine that I was working to become debt free and she looked me right in my face and laughed. I mean laughed to the point of tears while telling me how unrealistic I was being. “Everyone has debt”, she alleged. If this were her outlook on financial freedom, I would guess that she could image a debt free life comes only as a result of a windfall. She will either rob the bank or win the lottery. I, however, understand how even the most minute  sacrifices will help me get closer to my financial goals. I have to think beyond the day-to-day and month-to-month if I want to build  generational wealth. Financial expert, Dave Ramsey adds, “We have been sold debt with such repetition […] that it’s hard for people to imagine what it would be like to have no payments”. Debt shouldn’t be the normal status quo and I am not comfortable adopting that mind-set. When the day comes when I wake up with no mortgage, no student loans, and no credit card balance, I know it will be a result of my financial plan and my commitment to it.

Is Debt Normal? Share Your Thoughts…

{Chasing the Saturdays} How I Saved $500+ Before Breakfast!

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I woke up in a weird mood this past Saturday. I was torn between excited to tackle my never-ending to-do list and not wanting to leave the warmth of the bed. So what did I do?- A little of both. I grabbed the laptop and started to audit my flow of income and in doing so, I noticed I was missing opportunities to save more money. Before breakfast, I saved a little under $100 a year by canceling my cell phone insurance. It was one of those things that I should have done months ago, but never really got around to doing it. The two times that I actually thought about filing an insurance claim, the deductible was so expensive that it was better to just get a new phone and not having to worry about whether I would receive a new or refurbished phone from my carrier.
My first savings of the day energized me, so much so, that I called my dad to follow-up on his savings audit I did for him last year. Even when I showed my dad how he could save $1600, he actually never followed through.  It was time for me to take matters into my own hands. I started with my parents’ home phone and internet bundle and I canceled every service that they don’t use and wouldn’t miss. I reduced their monthly bill by $40 per month equalling to about $480 a year!

Are you overpaying for services you no longer use? 

Take a little time to review your statements from your service providers.  Remove extra services that you no longer use, are outdated, or that qualify as a luxury you could live without.  I did this a few months ago when I realized my cable bill included a football package.  It made NO sense/cents for me to pay for an added luxury that I didn’t even use.  Now, I am enjoying the savings more than missing the extra channels that I didn’t event know about.  If by chance, you have already eliminated every extra fee, then you should consider calling your service provider to see if there are any other discounts that can be applied to your account.   It may take a little time to get through your audit, but remember it’s better to spend some time to save some money!She Makes Cents logo

What Services Can You Remove From Your Bill to Save?
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{Twice the Charm} Happy Birthday She Makes Cents!!!

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{Financial Cents} 4 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

tax refund

 Have you ever gotten your tax refund and thought to yourself, it’s time to go shopping? I have. Growing up, my mom would take a large part of her refund and she and I would go on a shopping spree…even if it meant driving from mall to mall to find a wider selection or hanging out on a school night. That is how I grew up thinking about refund checks… like some sort of magical windfall of new shoes, purses, and dresses. Now fast forward to the present, I now know it’s better to try to break even than to get a fat refund. In reality, if you are receiving a large refund then you are paying too much in taxes throughout the year.

Divide and Conquer Your Money

If you are like me and you know you will be getting a refund of some sort, it is important to find a better way to spend your money than blowing it on a  new tv or handbag. Before you even receive your refund, you should already have an idea of what you may be getting back. Take this time to divide your money, so when you actually received it, you will be less likely to blow it recklessly because you have already decided where it is going. For some, this will take some serious financial discipline, but in the end, it’s worth it! I plan to make my money work for me by using these four categories below to get me started.

        • Fund your funds. If you don’t have an emergency fund of at least $1000, now is the time to start paying yourself.  You should think of this fund like those Chinese finger traps that kids used to pay with- it’s easy to put stuff in and difficult to take things out!  If you already have at least a $1000 Emergency fund, then you should take a percentage of your refund and put aside for your savings account.

        • Pay Down Debt.  This is the time to give your “snowball” effect an extra boost. Putting a portion of your refund toward your debt with the lowest APR (annual percentage rate) or lowest balance will help you pay get out of debt faster and feel good about your accomplishments.  Remember, you don’t have to have thousands of dollars all at once to start getting out of debt. Every payment above the minimum helps you get closer to your goal.

        • Take Care of Things You Have Been Putting Off.  If you have been meaning to call the plumber over to fix that leak you can’t find (raises hands) or get the brakes on your car checked out (raises hands) or even get the shoes with that weird heel repaired (raises hands) then take this time and money to do it.  These are things that people put off because they don’t have the money or time.  You now have the money, so make the time.

        • Prioritize Fun.  When budgeting your money, you have to remember to prioritize for things that bring you JOY.  Set a goal and when you accomplish it, tap into this category and unleash your fun fund.  This could mean buying those shoes you have had your eye on, a spa day, or planning that impromptu weekend with your loved one(s), girlfriends, or even by yourself!  It doesn’t have to be big, but it does help if it is something that brings happiness and drives you to work toward your goal. 

How Do You Divide Your Refund?

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{Business Cents} Every Woman Should Have a Professional Mentor

I know that  everyone can benefit from an mentor-mentee relationship; however, I believe it’s even more imperative that every woman have a professional mentor…and a good one at that!   While I know it is easy to assign that “role” to a public figure like Oprah, it is likely more beneficial to you and your career if you find someone who is actually willing to spend time with you.  It was about four years ago when I realized for myself how important this type of mentorship can be.  As I was transitioning careers, I decided to form a “dream team” of coincidentally women mentors.    My theory was that alone, each of them had an ability or network that the other did not, but together they formed a diverse and complete dream team.

Professional Mentor.jpg

Things to Consider When Finding Your Mentor

  • Does your mentor have the time to spend with you? This in my opinion is the most important.  I had a great dream team of movers and shakers, but  it was also so very hard for some of them to squeeze me in to their schedules.  Although the intentions are good, you aren’t gaining anything from this relationship if you aren’t even spending time with them.

  • Is this someone who will  hold you accountable? For you to truly succeed, you need to have someone who is so concerned about your goals and career path, that they aren’t afraid to be bluntly honest, call you on your “stuff”, and maybe even kick your butt, if needed. 

  • Are you learning tools that will help you get to where you want to be? The lessons may not always be explicit or intentional, but you have to be able to decipher how you can use what you are learning to thrive without compromising your character or integrity.

  • Are they respected in their field/company/community?  I learned the importance of this when I was conducting a cattle call of interviews with a panel of dancers and choreographers in Atlanta.  A number of the young dancers assumed that their relationships their mentors would help give them the extra edge.  So dancer after dancer took the “opportunity” to name drop not truly understanding the reputation of their mentors in their field.  The lesson I learned: Just because your mentor is known, doesn’t mean that they are respected. 

What Traits Do You Look For in a Mentor?

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